Sean Kingston Concert Receives Mixed Student Reactions

The Colgate Student Activities Association (SAA) and Student Government Association (SGA) hosted an expanded Fall Fest celebration this past Saturday, Oct. 30, which featured a range of activities in Starr Rink arena as well as a concert performance by Sean Kingston in Cotterell Court. Although students generally enjoyed the activities in Starr Rink, Kingston’s performance received mixed reviews from students, according to attendees interviewed by the Maroon-News.

Students found out about Fall Fest in a variety of ways including Get Involved emails, the Colgate events calendar and SGA. Activities included giant corn hole, throwing inflatable axes, painting pumpkins, and food from a variety of local restaurants.

Senior Fallon Hemmingway took part in some of the activities at Starr Rink, which she enjoyed.

“I wanted to go to participate in fun fall activities and to get some free food, as a senior not on a meal plan, and I thought it went well,” Hemingway said. “I would definitely go again if I wasn’t graduating. I think they underestimated the amount of students who would attend so that would be something to improve next year because they just ran out of stuff to do.” 

After the daytime Fall Fest activities ended, doors opened up for the concert around 9:30 p.m., and the Colgate 13, the University’s all male a cappella group, opened for Sean Kingston. Kingston was set to come onstage to perform at 10:00 p.m., according to the SGA email from Oct. 28.

Some students, such as senior Spencer Gump, noted the lack of communication surrounding the specifics of the event.

“I had my doubts about what the quality of the concert was going to be. I don’t think it was well publicized and there always seemed to be uncertainty regarding the logistical aspect of the event,” Gump said. “Up until a few days before the day he was performing, it wasn’t clear where the concert was or when it was.”

SAA and SGA announced the event via Instagram, releasing the concert information a week before the concert even amid a flurry of student rumors that Kingston would be the performer. Another email from SGA on Oct. 28 — the day before the event — detailed more specifics about the concert, including the fact that no guests were allowed and that there would be no re-entry once a student exited the venue.

Some students, such as senior Maria Clara Rapoza came to the concert with low expectations and ultimately had a good time.

“I think I got what I expected with the concert,” Rapoza said. “People who were more in the crowd and expected it to be silly and fun had a good time, but people who were on the side bleachers and had overhyped it had probably a worse time.”

Students who got there early were able to get seats close to the front, while others who came later stood in the bleachers in order to see the stage, which many believed was too small for the venue size.

“When I walked into the concert, a majority of the people in attendance were sitting in the bleachers and there was a smaller group on the floor,” Gump said. “My friends and I decided to sit in the bleachers initially but then went down to the floor once the concert started picking up. When Sean Kingston came on, everyone had their phones out and the crowd seemed really excited.”

Students were disappointed that Kingston didn’t seem to be performing live and that the concert only lasted about an hour, according to Gump. 

“However, it became obvious that it wasn’t really a live performance when the first song he performed was playing through the speakers and Sean was adding in little noises throughout the song,” Gump said. “This was how all of the songs went, and for his really popular songs, everyone was dancing and singing along but there seemed to be moderate disappointment that he wasn’t really performing in.”

Some students who were looking forward to hearing Kingston’s late 2000s hits were unsatisfied with the quality of the concert, including sophomore Nikhil Bahal.

“I enjoyed hearing the songs I grew up on in person but was disappointed in the performance overall,” Bahal said. “Sean Kingston’s performance on Saturday night was underwhelming — from the mediocre performance to the poor choice of venue.”

Other students decided to leave early, according to Gump.

“Once we had heard his most well-known songs, we decided to leave and the rest of the crowd seemed to have the same idea,” Gump said. “He stopped performing shortly after that anyway, so in total the concert ended up only being about an hour.”

The Colgate 13 a cappella group opened for Kingston, performing “Forget You” by CeeLo Green, among other songs. Opening for Kingston was a great opportunity for the group, according to leader Pierce Haley, despite some technical difficulties.

“The stage they had set up was on the smaller side, so our group of 13 was packed pretty tight,” Haley said. “Before the show, we did a sound check with the three mics they had given us: one for a soloist and two for the background. Unfortunately, during the show, the mic levels weren’t high enough to compete with the noise of the crowd, so we got a lot of feedback from people watching that they couldn’t really hear what we were singing.”

Despite some students feeling as though the concert didn’t live up to expectations, other students enjoyed it, according to Haley. 

“In terms of the actual concert, I thought it went great,” Haley said. “Some people I talked to were saying that they couldn’t really hear Sean when he was singing, but it sounded fine from where I was upfront. There was a lot of pushing and discomfort in the middle of the crowd, but what else would you expect from a concert like that? Overall it was pretty cool to hear one of my favorite childhood artists perform live right in front of me.”

Although sophomore Elsa O’Brien, the entertainment committee director for the SAA, reported around 1500 students in attendance, some students were confused after Kingston captioned his Instagram story “10k Sold Out” with a picture of the crowd and tagged the location as “New York City, New York.” Some students felt that these gaffes misrepresented the actual concert, according to Gump.

Although reception to the concert was mixed, students who attended the activities at Starr Rink prior to the concert were pleasantly surprised with what they found — provided that they arrived before supplies started to diminish.

“I went to the stuff-a-plushie booth, which was super cute,” Hemingway said. “I also went to the Maxwell’s, Hamilton Eatery and Ray Brother’s booths. There was a decent turnout, definitely more people than what I was expecting. People were still filtering in when I was there too. I think there were enough things to do, but not enough of those things. By the time I got there at 5:30 almost all of the plushies had run out. The food was also running out.”